The collective behaviour of non-equilibrium systems is poorly understood compared to systems in thermal equilibrium, for which statistical mechanics provides a well established theory. By non-equilibrium systems we refer both to systems held far from thermal equilibrium by an external driving force, and the complementary situation of systems relaxing towards thermal equilibrium. Such systems display a broad range of phenomena, such as phase transitions and slow collective dynamics, which one would like to understand at a deeper level. The study of non-equilibrium systems has arisen in many different contexts such as reaction-diffusion processes, interacting particle systems, driven diffusive systems, and the slow dynamics of glassy systems. In recent years progress has been made towards better understanding these systems. Mathematical tools have been developed and some exact results pertaining to specific systems have been derived. These developments bring us closer to the point where one can address fundamental questions of generality, both of techniques and results. It is anticipated that bringing together the different communities of physicists and mathematicians working in this diverse field will foster the emergence of new directions and outlooks.
The programme will focus on three major areas:
- Driven diffusive systems of interacting particles
- Coarsening and persistence
- Glassy, constrained dynamics and ageing
Although all three of these areas will be explored throughout the programme, it is intended that there will be periods of focus on each, centred around topical workshops.